« ZurückWeiter »
to their respective contributions; but the important ends of civil society, and the personal securities of life and liberty there, remain the same in every member of the society; and the poorest continues to have an equal claim to them with the most opulent, whatever difference time, chance, or industry may occasion in their circumstances. On these considerations, I am sorry to see the signs this paper I have been considering affords, of a disposition among some of our people to commence an aristocracy, by giving the rich a predominancy in government, a choice peculiar to themselves in one half the legislature to be proudly called the UPPER House, and the other branch, chosen by the majority of the people, degraded by the denomination of the LOWER; and giving to this upper House a permanency of four years, and but two to the lower. I hope, therefore, that our Representatives in the convention will not hastily go into these innovations, but take the advice of the Prophet, “ Stand in the old ways, view the ancient paths, consider them well, and be not among those that are given to change.”
By the brilliant discoveries of Dr. Franklin in electricity he was first known as a-philosopher; and his fame was widely extended Europe, on account of these discoveries, before he had risen to eminence in his own country. His attention was drawn to this subject rather by accident,' than by any previous study or knowledge of facts. Being at Boston in the year 1746, he met there a Dr. Spence, who had lately arrived from Scotland, and whom he saw perform some electrical experiments. As the subject was quite new to him, these experiments excited his curiosity. Soon after he returned to Philadelphia, the Library Company in that city received from Mr. Peter Collinson, of London, a glass tube, with instructions how to use it in making experiments. Mr. Collinson was a member of the Royal Society, devoted to the promotion of science and useful improvements. With this tube, and such additional apparatus as he invented or constructed, Franklin began a course of experiments, assisted by two or three of his friends. A history of the results was drawn up by Dr. Stuber, who resided in Philadelphia, and who seems to have written from minute and accurate information.
“His observations," says Dr. Stuber, “he communicated, in a series of letters, to his friend Collinson, the first of which is dated March 28th, 1747. In these he shows the power of points in drawing and throwing off the electrical matter, which had hitherto escaped the notice of electricians. · He also made the grand discovery of a plus and minus, or of a positive and negative state of electricity. We give him the honor of this, without hesitation ; although the English have claimed it for their countryman, Dr. Watson. Watson's paper is dated January 21st, 1748; Franklin's July 11th, 1747, several months prior. Shortly after, Franklin, from his principles of the plus and minus state, explained, in a satisfactory manner, the phenomena of the Leyden phial, first observed by Mr. Cuneus, or by Professor Muschenbroeck, of Leyden, which had much perplexed philosophers. He showed clearly, that,